"Silver Fox" Kahler to be Honored
Dan Kahler, the winningest men’s basketball coach in Cowley history, will have the W.S. Scott Auditorium floor named in his honor during an official dedication ceremony on Nov. 12.
Kahler, who guided the Tigers to four appearances at the national tournament in seven seasons, will be honored on "Dan Kahler Night." The ceremony dedicating the Dan Kahler Court will take place prior to the men’s basketball game against Southwestern College’s junior varsity. Tip-off for the men’s game is set for 8 p.m. The Lady Tigers will face Southwestern’s JV at 6 p.m. Cowley Athletic Director Tom Saia said Kahler was a logical choice when the committee met to name the court. "He was in the first (Tiger Athletic) Hall of Fame class, and he’s the one who helped expand the Hall of Fame," Saia said.
Kahler has made significant monetary contributions to help get the Hall of Fame started. The first class was in February 2000. "He was a great coach, a great motivator, and a great teacher," Saia said. "And the things he’s done away from the game are amazing." Kahler, known as the "Silver Fox," had a stellar coaching career at Cowley, then known as Arkansas City Junior College. His 1952-53 team went 29-5, won conference and Region VI titles, and finished second in the national tournament. The following season, Kahler’s Tigers went 24-5, won conference and region crowns, and finished seventh in the nation. The 1954-55 squad went 25-8, won the region and finished third at nationals. And his 1956-57 team finished 28-8, won the Western Division of the Jayhawk Conference, won the regional, and placed eighth at nationals.
His 170-49 record in seven seasons (a .776 winning percentage) is the best among men’s basketball coaches at Cowley. He also coached 13 All-Americans. "The thing that amazes me is he still can relate to today’s student athletes," Saia said. "It’s a great honor for me to call him a friend. It’s an honor for me to be associated with him. And to be able to name the court after him is just great."
Kahler has won numerous accolades for his work in education. Most recently, he served as a graduate school professor at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. Oct. 4, 1996, was proclaimed as "DK Day" in Clay County, Missouri. That same year, he had the North Kansas City Schools Education Foundation name its grants "The Dan Kahler Teacher Grants." He received the "Missouri Mentor" award in 1995 for influencing more than 8,000 beginning teachers as keynote speaker of the Missouri Beginning Teacher Conference. He was the first recipient of the Maxey Dupree Award, better known as the "Kindest Kansas Citian" in 1991, and he won the Greater Kansas City Teacher of the Year award in 1988. Closer to Cowley County, Kahler earned 15 letters at Southwestern College and was inducted into SWC’s Athletic Hall of Fame in 1993.
He played for the United States in the fall of 1950 in the first-ever World Championship Basketball Tournament in Buenos Aires, Argentina. And he capped his Southwestern playing career as an All-American in football and basketball and playing in Madison Square Garden in the East-West All-Star Game.
He has served on numerous boards and is a Youth Friend in the North Kansas City School District. He helped open Oak Park High School in 1965. Following his coaching career at ACJC, Kahler became principal at Arkansas City High School in 1959. He moved to Lawrence in 1963 and served as principal two years. While in Lawrence, he served as analyst and interviewer for the University of Kansas Sports Network for more than a decade in football and basketball and at the KU Relays. Kahler resides in Kansas City, Mo., with his wife, Violet.